Life and times
The actor and comedian Miles Jupp
I had auditioned for the role of Angry Man, only to be offered the part of Impotent Man
MY WIFE AND I TOOK our five children camping in Wiltshire recently. Given that the youngest is just two, this was possibly a sign of lunacy. Camping, like cycling or golf, seems to be one of those hobbies that can draw even the sane into the ruthless acquisition of kit. We got as far as buying a tent big enough for us all, and a selection of sleeping bags and ground mats. But wandering around the campsite I began to envy the levels of luxury other families had achieved. Open tent flaps revealed airbeds and duvets. People had erected huge outdoor living areas equipped with tables and chairs and stoves, and gazebos bedecked with fairy lights. Some even had firepits. We, as it occurred to me one night while attempting to read, have yet to acquire a torch. Still, an adequate tent represents real progress for me.
Thirteen years ago a friend and I walked the West Highland Way, and took with us a tent that I had bought for £25 in Argos to take to Glastonbury the previous year. One morning – and in the tent ’s defence it was February – we awoke to discover that the entire thing had frozen solid. The roof was covered in ice, both outside and inside. We pulled out the pegs and the ropes stayed completely rigid. After an hour of trying to thaw it we gave up and snapped it into pieces. Firepits be damned.
I AM ALWAYS HAPPY to take my children to the cinema near our house in South Wales. We wander along, buy our tickets and popcorn, take our seats and then, once the film starts, I fold my arms, drop my head and go off to sleep. It’s a welcome respite from the hurly-burly of our noisy and child-filled domestic life. We’ve been to see Captain Under
pants twice now and I’ve still only seen about two thirds of it. I’m perfectly content to snooze in the cinema irrespective of what I’m watching, but I’ve now done this so many times that it’s impacting other areas of my life.
I arrived half an hour early to audition for a scary film recently and decided I’d spend the time running the lines in my head. In order to do this I folded my arms and shut my eyes. The next thing I knew I was being awoken by the sound of the casting director calling my name. I then stumbled foggy-headed into the audition and made a pig’s ear of it.
I suppose it’s a useful skill to be able to nod off instantly – occasionally. But I’ve essentially developed a shutdown mode.
BEFORE I FELL ASLEEP in The Emoji
Movie I noticed that Sir Patrick Stewart was providing the voice for a character called Poop, who was, as his name suggests, a pile of poo. I am in no position to be snide about the choices made by other actors, and presumably Sir Patrick felt the opportunity to voice some faeces would only come around so often.
It’s never nice turning down any sort of acting work and I’ve certainly done my fair share of happily turning up to film sets to play nameless vicars, butlers and waiters who have a single line. I did once turn down a role with no lines – playing a man who got kicked in the privates – but only because I wasn’t free that day. Just once have I turned down a part because of the character’s name.
I had auditioned for the role of Angry Man in a film, only to be offered the part of Impotent Man. Not only would Impotent Man be described as such in the end credits, but for the duration of his time on screen, the words ‘Impotent Man’ would be captioned across it. Stung by the fact that my attempts to portray anger had put the casting director in mind of impotence, I let that one go. Egg & Soldiers: A Childhood Memoir, by Damien Trench, as told to Miles Jupp (Headline, £18.99), is out now